Background: This study compares a combination of processes of care and clinical targets among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) between specialist diabetes clinics (SDCs) and general medical clinics (GMCs), and how differences between these two types of clinics differ with hospital type (community, provincial and regional).
Methods: Type 2 diabetes mellitus patient medical records were collected from 595 hospitals (499 community, 70 provincial, 26 regional) in Thailand between April 1 to June 30, 2012 resulting in a cross-sectional sample of 26,860 patients. Generalized linear mixed modeling was conducted to examine associations between clinic type and quality of care. The outcome variables of interest were split into clinical targets and process of care. A subsequent subgroup analysis was conducted to examine if the nature of clinical target and process of care differences between GMCs and SDCs varied with hospital type (regional, provincial, community).
Results: Regardless of the types of hospitals (regional, provincial, or community) patients attending SDCs were considerably more likely to have eye and foot exam. In terms of larger hospitals (regional and provincial) patients attending SDCs were more likely to achieve HbA1c exam, All FACE exam, BP target, and the Num7Q. Interestingly, SDCs performed better than GMCs at only provincial hospitals for LDL-C target and the All7Q. Finally, patients with T2DM who attended community hospital-GMCs had a better chance of achieving the blood pressure target than patients who attended community hospital-SDCs.
Conclusions: Specialized diabetes clinics outperform general medical clinics for both regional and provincial hospitals for all quality of care indicators and the number of quality of care indicators achieved was never lower. However, this better performance of SDC was not observed in community hospital. Indeed, GMCs outperformed SDCs for some quality of care indicators in the community level setting.